blue bits. red rocks.

jesus dojo

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When I think of the spiritual strength we cultivate with God and others through prayer, I think of the image of the mighty sequoia tree. One might think that the roots of this giant tree reach deep into the ground to anchor it. But in reality the roots of this tree are relatively shallow. It is said that this tree gathers the strength it needs to soar high above other trees by stretching its roots far and wide. Sometimes the roots spread out to encompass an entire acre. Along the way, the roots of one sequoia find the roots of another. These roots wrap around each other, connecting one tree to the next. And the next. And the next, until the entire forest of sequoias joins together in an interwoven system of support buried beneath the surface. When strong winds blow and storms seek to topple them, it is the strength of these interconnected roots that holds the trees upright. The Spirituality of Nonviolence

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Today the world is on the brink of ruin because the Church refuses to be the Church, because we Christians have been deceiving ourselves and the non-Christian world about the truth of Christ. There is no way to follow Christ, to love as Christ loved, and simultaneously to kill other people. It is a lie to say that the spirit that moves the trigger of a flamethrower is the Holy Spirit. It is a lie to say that learning to kill is learning to be Christ-like. It is a lie to say that learning to drive a bayonet into the heart of another is motivated from having put on the mind of Christ. Militarized Christianity is a lie. It is radically out of conformity with the teaching, life, and spirit of Jesus. The Chaplain who Blessed the Hiroshima Bombers, Repents

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This is a perfect storm for Christianity. We now have a political party that deeply dislikes the first African American president (who is also a Christian), clearly opposes significant cooperation with him or his party, is reactionary on most issues from taxes to the environment to women’s health to full equality for LGBTQ folks, is wedded to a neo-conservative economic fideism, and is unapologetically Christian. It will be difficult to convince anyone that this Republican Christianity is not authentic Christianity because a religion reveals itself when it has political and economic power. Christianity’s Greatest Counterfeit

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Watching political pundits bark the party line or news anchors posture themselves as authority figures rather than conduits of curiosity, I find myself asking the question, “What keeps us from seeing others as human?” And by human, I mean, divine image bearers who have stories, families, pain, hopes, traditions, and a unique interpretation of reality. Three Barriers Hijacking Christian’s Ability to Love Our ‘Enemies’

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People who can’t imagine are susceptible to bigotry, racism, hatred, and violence toward others. Why? Because they can’t imagine any other scenario, perspective, or opinion other than their own. They have an inability to see themselves in someone else’s shoes. They can’t see beyond their own narrow reality. When you can’t imagine, you can’t empathize, understand, or relate with the actions, struggles, pain, suffering, persecution, and trials of others — you become apathetic, unmoved, stoic, and inactive. When Christians Lack Imagination, They Lack Love

To love our neighbors, the way Jesus loved them, requires that we not let the world seduce our neighbors into thinking that they are not their brothers’ keeper, that poverty is a problem that should cost us nothing, that those who live by the sword will live by the sword, that salvation is an individual enterprise. Jesus: The Neighbor Nobody Wants Next Door

And make no mistake, our God is a God of justice. The young black men who launch Molotov cocktails at the police are misappropriating God’s justice by taking it into their own hands, but the rage they feel is the rage that God feels towards injustice. In a sense, they are imaging forth God’s justice to an unjust world. Seeing the suffering Christ in these young men isn’t achieved by theological gymnastics, deep pity, or altruism. It’s done by listening to their stories, sharing life, standing in solidarity with them, and experiencing their rage. The Cross and the Molotov Cocktail

Many white-middle-to-upper class congregations around America this Sunday will forgo mentioning Michael Brown’s name at all. For those that do, his name will be quickly followed by a caveat wherein the pastor spends more time condemning the rioters—rather than focusing on the event that initiated the chaos in the first place. How is it, that this Sunday, these congregations will join together to worship Jesus Christ who himself was unjustly killed by the authorities, but they will fail to recognize the murder of Michael Brown? It no doubt has to do with these Christians becoming disincarnate from the dejected of society. Indeed, these are the same Christians who reject altogether that the U.S.’s modus operandi still largely relies on the oppression of minorities. Michael Brown, Tupac and God

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Organized religion, and all that comes with it, is a means to an end. Its intent is to facilitate community, spiritual growth, mutual accountability, worship of God and transformation of the world around us. But so much of our energy in recent decades has gone into propping up aging, hollowed out institutions and preserving empty rituals for the sake of themselves that we’ve turned them into the golden calf, taking precedent over God and the Gospel at the center of our hearts. We’ve fallen victim to mistaken assumption that we have to resurrect dying religious infrastructures in order to reveal God to ourselves and others. But in doing so, we’ve run the risk of losing connection with God’s call all together. Five Reasons post-Christianity Is Good for Us

When the monstrous mushroom cloud rose over the New Mexico desert, did the human race indeed become Death, the destroyer of worlds? It’s more than a legitimate question. We’ve now lived for over a generation with the most haunting post-Holocaust/Hiroshima uncertainty: Can humanity possess the capacity for self-destruction and not resort to it? The jury is still out. But this much is certain:If we think the ideas of Jesus about peace are irrelevant in the age of genocide and nuclear weapons, we have invented an utterly irrelevant Christianity! Brian Zahnd

When Christians use Scripture to defend the territorial claims of the modern Israeli state, we miss the story the New Testament wants to tell. In fact, you might say we’re moving in the opposite direction of that story. The problem with using the Bible to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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